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many, rather than do something which might produce a
socialist community in Central Europe.


Chapter IX

America's Choice

Now America is not so acutely or so imme-

n ? C ^ diately threatened by the reappearance of

German imperialism as are the nations of

Western Europe, such as Britain and France. All the same,

I believe that she errs if she thinks that she is not threatened.

I said in the first chapter of this book that a Fascist Eu-
rope, a Europe under the domination of German imperialism,
that is to say, would be not only a ghastly but also a very
strong thing. It would be a continent launched on a career of
world conquest. No nation, however strong or however dis-
tant, would be free from its menace. Hence it would seem to
me that the American people, strictly for their own sakes,
would be well advised to take part in the movement of all
free peoples to stop the Fascists before they become so strong
that civilization will be almost wrecked in the job of stopping

I am not disposed, however, to say much more about this
question than that one sentence. For so long as the British
government pursues its present policy of connivance in, and
condonation of, every act of Fascist aggression in the world,



it is almost impossible for any Britisher to ask the American
people to aid the British people in the task of stopping Fascist
aggression before it is too late. It is the duty of Britain to
set the example, for Britain is nearer the aggressor and more
immediately threatened.

n . . * The British governing class, I notice, while

British f _. ii i. i

j refusing itself to make the slightest move to

Propaganda. ,%, i i - j j -j

stop the rascist aggressors; while indeed aid-
ing and abetting their aggression in every way, at the same
time is beginning to start a propaganda in America by which
it is seeking to persuade the American people that they must
come and help the British if, in spite of all Britain's conces-
sions to the Fascists, Britain is attacked. This propaganda
shows, on the one hand, that the British governing class, in
spite of all it has done for the Fascist aggressors, knows that
they may at any moment turn upon it. And, on the other hand,
it shows a very poor opinion of the intelligence of the Ameri-
can people. Nothing seems to me more undignified or more
hypocritical than this request of the British governing class
to the American people to save democracy, world peace, etc.,
etc., while the British government is every day betraying
these very things.

I am sure that the American people will make up their own
minds as to what America's world policy should be. If they
decide, as I believe they will in the end, that they must join
hands with every people whose intent it is to resist Fascist
aggression, then they will do so strictly because they see that
it is in their own interest, and for their own safety, to do so.



It will not be until we get a progressive government in Britain
that we shall be able to follow such a good example on the
part of America.

Th P 'fi, t There are, however, people who say that all
^ this talk of resisting Fascist aggression is

wrong; that what we ought to do is to give the
Fascists what they want; to hand over colonies to the Fascists;
to share the markets of the world with them.

Now there are two overwhelming objections to such a

First, people who talk like this are really regarding
colonies as if they were pawns in some complex game of
international chess. But colonies are whole countries in-
habited by whole. peoples. In some cases, such as India, the
greatest of all colonies, they are sub-continents, inhabited
by dozens of different peoples. What possible right have we
to hand over such countries, with their peoples, to the

I, for example, am strongly in favor of Britain giving up
India and the other colonies which she holds by force. But
I am in favor of Britain giving up India, not to the Germans,
but to the Indians. I can imagine no more cynical and wicked
thing to do than to hand over India, for example, to Nazi
rule. The German Fascists have publicly declared that they
regard colored people as subhuman. As one Nazi spokesman
put it, colored people are, from the Fascist point of view, a
sort of halfway house between human beings and animals.

Goodness knows British treatment of the subject peoples



of our colonies has been bad enough. But it would be nothing
as compared with the treatment these peoples would get if
they became the subjects of a new German Fascist imperial-
ism. And in practice all the colonies which Britain, or for
that matter America, could hand over to the Nazis are
inhabited by colored peoples. For the so-called British
dominions, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., are not
really colonies at all. They are free sovereign states and
their peoples would not consent for a single second even to
consider being given as colonies to anybody.

,r D But there is a deeper reason than this for

No Peace . . J

TJ,- w rejecting the idea of trying to buy on the

L ilIS W QY _ _ . __

Fascist aggressors with a few colonies. This
whole idea really accepts the imperialist answer to our
basic question of who is to buy the goods. It is based on the
idea that states can live only if they acquire great chunks
of the world as their exclusive markets. In other words, it
is based upon an acceptance of the existing economic system.
Is it not easy to see, however, that there is no way out for
the world as long as you accept this basis? Peace does not
lie down this road. However you shuffle round the available
colonies between the various empires, there will always be
some empires which will have too few markets to be able
to exist. And these empires will be driven outward in the
attempt to acquire more. There are not anything like enough
colonies, or potential colonies, to go round. The empires are
growing in number. Their productive capacity is expanding
rapidly. They cannot, or will not, give their peoples any



more purchasing power; hence their need for markets be-
comes ever more desperate.

It is utterly impossible to solve the question by any re-
shuffle of those markets which are available. The only way
it can be solved is by giving the populations of the empires
themselves enough purchasing power to buy the goods. And
this process, although it can be, and ought to be, begun
along the lines of Mr. Roosevelt's distributions of purchas-
ing power, can only be finally successful if the ownership
of the capital of the country is itself changed.
American ^ ut w ^ at a ^ out America in all this? Why,

Imperialism ^ e rea( ^ er w ^ as ^> ^ ave not *^ e American
capitalists long before this been driven to
give the imperialist answer to the question of who is to buy
the goods? Well, of course, to some extent they have. About
thirty or forty years ago American capitalism appeared to
have embarked on the usual imperialist course. She was
acquiring what were colonies, in fact if not in name, in the
Pacific, in Central and South America, etc., etc. She brushed
aside in a typical, if small, imperialist war the feeble re-
sistance of Spain. America seemed to have her foot planted
on the imperialist course.

M yy But then, in the postwar period, American

pr capitalism passed into its last, but greatest

period of internal expansion. American capi-
talism had so vast a home country that it was able to enjoy
one last great boom in developing its own home territories.
To some extent this arrested the course of American imperial-



ism. In the postwar period America acquired no new col-
onies and, on the whole, became less interested even in those
which she had. She invented, however, a new kind of eco-
nomic expansion into the outside world. Without actually
attempting to annex any new territories, she made enormous
loans of American capital to all sorts of foreign countries,
from Germany on the one hand to the South American re-
publics on the other, to say nothing of the money she had
lent to the British and other allied countries during the war.
No doubt the boom of the twenties could not have been so
big, or have lasted so long, without this new form of eco-
nomic expansion into the outside world.

The British capitalists, however, would have said that this
was a very risky thing to do. They would have said that if
you lent money to states which you did not take the precau-
tion to conquer and annex, it would probably mean that you
would lose your money in the end. For it would mean that
you had not the power to make your debtors pay.

And so, as a matter of fact, it turned out. This new kind
of American economic expansion, which did not carry the
full imperialist implications with it, proved a failure. Amer-
ica did lose a very high proportion indeed of all the money
she had lent abroad.

A . The result has been a very strong reaction

America , . '

/ Anti- among the American people against any at-

. . ,. tempt to solve their economic difficulties by
means of economic expansion into other coun-
tries, and against Imperialism in particular. To a British
observer especially, it is extremely remarkable how, during



all the acute economic difficulties of the last ten years, hardly
anyone in America has attempted or suggested a new im-
perialist drive as the solution. America seems to have turned
her back on the imperialist road; she seems to have her feet
planted more or less firmly upon the road which leads to
solving the problem by means of making her own population
the ultimate market for her goods.

T , r> is We have followed out Mr. Roosevelt's ex-

/ / Roosevelt s _ _

j TV tensive and courageous attempt to solve the

n t 7 problem along these progressive lines. But we

L/ejeo/teci _ _ _ __ . .

have also seen how much there remains to be

done before the problem is solved. This attempt was bound
to encounter terrific opposition from the capitalist class; for
the question of who is to buy the goods can be solved along
these lines only at the expense of the capitalists.

We come to this conclusion then. If the present American
attempt to answer the question of who is to buy the goods
in the progressive way, if the attempt to equip the American
people with adequate purchasing power no matter whose
interests and whose prejudices stand in the way were to
fail, then America would inevitably be forced back onto
the imperialist road. If the forces which at present center
round Mr. Roosevelt were to be defeated, if the whole pro-
gressive attempt to distribute purchasing power and to begin
the modification of capitalism in America were discredited
and defeated, then the only remaining possibility for the
American people would be the path of imperialist conquest.

The instinctive opposition of nearly all Americans to such
a course would probably necessitate the imposition of some



kind of fascist tyranny upon them in order to make it possible
for the leading bankers and capitalists to take them down the
imperialist road. At the same time one must remember that
the first step along the imperialist road can be made insid-
iously attractive. This first step usually consists in the inaugu-
ration of a gigantic program of armaments. Now it is
perfectly true that armaments, which in their economic ef-
fects are only a particular kind of public works, will act
as a stimulus upon the economic system (I have described
how above). Hence they may look attractive to many people
who would otherwise be strongly opposed to any tendency
toward imperialism. Still I do not believe that the American
people could be got beyond this first step of their own free
will; some kind of fascism would be needed to get them
any farther. But if that happened, if the American people
were enslaved, we should get by far the most powerful
fascist, imperialist capitalism which the world had ever
seen, rushing out for a struggle with the Fascist capitalisms
of Europe to dominate the world.

The German Nazis would wake up to the unpleasant fact
that two could play at their game of attempting to solve the
problem by imperialist expansion! They would meet in an
American fascist capitalism a rival more formidable than
themselves. But in the ensuing struggle we should all be

It seems to me, therefore, that the fate of the whole world
is bound up with the success of the American people in their



present attempt to solve their problem along the progressive
lines of equipping themselves with sufficient purchasing
power to keep themselves in employment.


Chapter X

Must We Die for Their Markets?

rpi p i The final result of trying to solve the prob'

o j t lem of who is to buy the goods in the orthodox

imperialist way is, then, to kill ten or so
million people every now and then. But people do not like
being killed. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (It ia
sweet and noble to die for one's country), said the Roman
poet, trying to encourage the Roman citizens to fight well in
Rome's wars.

But in modern warfare (as, I expect, in all warfare)
when you are a tiny, nameless unit in a vast mechanized
army, fighting perhaps in some distant land, you do not
quite know what for, against you do not know quite whom,
dying does not seem so sweet.

MI You may, indeed you should, love your

p . . country very dearly. But I suppose that in

order to die for a country you must first
possess a country to die for. And can it be said that those of
us who do not own any appreciable part of the capital of
our country have a country to die for?

The answer to this question seems to me to be "yes and



no." Such persons have not got a "stake in the country," as
the saying goes. They have in a very real sense lost their
birthright in their country. For the birthright of every free
citizen of a country is the opportunity to live and work for
himself and his family. And that freedom can be given only
to men who have unrestricted access to means of production
which they themselves own, either collectively or individually.
I am bound to say that, when I look at the present state
of my country, Britain, for instance, it seems to me that
when we are asked to die for it, we are being asked to die
for a country which belongs not to us, but to the, say, four
million Britishers who alone own any appreciable part in
the means of production. Indeed, Britain belongs to a very
large extent to a far smaller group within that four million
a group of very rich men who really direct and control
things. The great industrialists, the great bankers, the great
newspaper owners these are the men who, it seems to me,
really own the country. It does not seem to me to be sweet
or noble to die for their country.
j-,. All the same, there is a sense in which

First 11 r' i i

,, T/ almost all 01 us nave some stake m our

Get Your

,, country. If we get any sort of living at all,

Country. \ / . '

we derive great benefits irom the organized,

civilized way of life which has been set up in America and
in Britain. Because of this we feel, and in a sense are right
to feel, that this is our country, which we must and will
defend which it may be worth dying for.

All this leads toward a very important conclusion. The



appeal of patriotism, of devotion and sacrifice to one's coun-
try, may be a very high and noble one; but it is also one
which can be most shamefully abused. Should we not take
special care, when this appeal is being made to us, that we
are not being tricked that it really is our country and not,
in the case of Britain, Lord Rothermere's or Lord Beaver-
brook's country, or, in the case of America, Mr. J. P.
Morgan's and Mr. Rockefeller's country, that we are being
asked to die for?

Nobody can deny that, in the world as it is, it may be
necessary for men to fight for their country. But wage earners
will not, in any full or complete sense of the word, have
a country to fight for until they see to it that the land, the
mines, the machines, the docks, the railways, the factories,
and the like, with which they have covered its face, belong
to them. For if they don't take care, what they will be asked
to die for will be, not their country, but the cause of keeping
the present economic system in existence.
ft Now hitherto only a few of the wage

n earners have grasped all this at all clearly.

But all the same, a great many of them have
reacted to the conditions created by all this. Even though
they have not fully understood what causes their troubles,
they have grown restive. They have wondered why, amidst
all the teeming wealth of the world, they have had to live
at very near a subsistence level. Especially in recent years
have they wondered why it seemed necessary every now



and then to fight and die all over the world, and by the
million at a time.

Gradually the idea has grown up that all this may not
be necessary or inevitable. And not only has the idea grown
up, but organizations have appeared among us trade-
unions, co-operative societies and finally political parties
which have had as their object the changing of all this.
These organizations, which amount to what we call a labor
movement, have aimed at preventing our having to live in
poverty amidst the wealth which we create, and having to
die in order that our employers shall be able to sell that
wealth to somebody else (for that is what it amounts to).

These organizations, which the people have gradually
created, have begun to push for higher wages, have begun
to suggest to people that they need not go out and fight their
masters' battles for them. Now so long as the employers do
not have to ask any desperate sacrifices from the mass of
the population, they can tolerate the existence of such a
movement as this. But if a point comes (and this point has
come in a large part of the world today) when the employ-
ing classes and their empires have periodically to ask of
us the ultimate sacrifice of giving our lives for them why
then the existence of movements which make people feel that
this sacrifice is unnecessary becomes an intolerable danger
to those who wish to maintain the present state of things.

The ruling class of each empire today feels that it simply
must be able to depend on its people to die for any cause
which their rulers tell them they must die for. Hence the



existence of any source whence people can get independent
ideas of their own into their heads comes more and more
to be regarded as intolerable.

P . The existence, in a word, of independent,

Fascism. . . . r

working-class, or popular organizations and

propaganda becomes intolerable to the ruling classes of the
empires. For these ruling classes know that at any moment
they may have to ask "their" workers to sacrifice life itself;
and if any doubt that such sacrifice is inevitable has been
allowed to rise in people's minds, they may not make this
sacrifice. That is why empire after empire has today de-
termined to stamp out the existence of any source of inde-
pendent ideas or organization among its people. We call
this attempt fascism.

r, . r The simplest way to descriDe the conse-

Fascism Is * . /

the D ft quences of fascism lor the mass of the people

is to say that fascism means permanent con-
scription. Fascism does to men, women and children (and
it does it in peace-time as well as in war-time) what the draft
does to men of military age in war-time.

Fascism takes from us, first of all, the right to strike.
It not only destroys the trade-union organizations which alone
give wage workers bargaining power, but actually makes
striking illegal. And the measure of genuine liberty which
some ninety million Americans possess today, depends, in
the last resort, on this single liberty of it being possible for
them to withhold their labor. When that goes, everything goes.

By what has happened to the people in fascist countries,
you can see that this is no theory, but actual fact. Once



a people allows its right to withhold its labor to be taken
away from it, its political parties, its co-operative societies,
its right to vote every element of democracy and civil lib-
erty are all swept away. For the one real power of the
wageworkers has been destroyed. Once the right to with-
hold labor has gone, the rule of those who own the means
of production must necessarily become complete and un-

Fascism, then, is the attempt of those who own the capital
of the country to stamp out any possibility of resistance to
their will. And they have to make this attempt because the
needs of their system drive them to demand of us our very
lives in war after war, in order to conquer markets for
them abroad.
, But fascism does not rely entirely on ma-

r , chine guns in order to deprive the people of

Enslave . ... . \ i , ,

, fl/f . j their rights and liberties. It could not do it

t he Mind. _ _ _ _

by machine guns alone. Perhaps the most

important method by which the fascists do their job is the
use of the modern technique of propaganda. The fascists
attempt to enslave the minds of the people even more than
their bodies.

Their most desperate efforts are directed to preventing
us from getting a grasp of the real situation. To this end
they invent a whole rigmarole of extraordinary and disgust-
ing ideas. They put down our troubles to every kind of
fantastic cause; they invent positively anything in order to
prevent our seeing the real cause, namely, the ownership of
the means of production by a tiny class. They say that it



is all due to the existence of the Jews, or the Roman Catho-
lics, or whom you will, among us; or they say that it is due
to the usury laws of the Middle Ages having heen abol-
ished; or they invent an extraordinary theory called "the
doctrine of blood and soil."

This last theory is a very convenient one for the fascists.
It teaches that it is a great mistake to think about anything
clearly. All you have to do is to just let yourself be guided
by your feelings. As the fascists' main object is to prevent
our thinking out our position clearly, and thereby trying
to understand what the cause of our trouble is, this is an
ideal theory for them.

In order to put over this extraordinary mass of lies, fascists
have to wage an organized war on all reason and clear
thinking. That is why the German fascists, as soon as they
came to power, publicly burned the books of all the best
authors and greatest thinkers in Germany in the public
squares of the cities. That is why, ever since, they have been
systematically destroying all that is highest and best in
German civilization. In the last resort, all civilized, decent
ideas are incompatible with fascism. For fascism is the
effort (the fascists say this quite frankly) to organize all
life as preparation for war.
y,. Probably I need not go on describing the

^,1 . t frightful state of things which results when-

Lhain of .

ever the fascists are given power in any coun-

try. But the point to realize is that fascism is
not some extraordinary mania which has hit the world, but
is only the logical consequence of doing what is necessary



to keep the present economic system going by the imperialist

We have seen the chain of consequences. The present
economic system must keep the mass of the population very
poor; but it produces an immense flow of wealth. Therefore
it has to find foreign markets as a very condition of its
existence. Hence imperialism is born and the world gets cut
up into the possessions of the various empires. Since these
empires go on expanding, they periodically collide with
each other and produce world wars. Therefore the employ-
ing, ruling class has periodically to call on us all to die to
get them markets. Ideas and organizations begin to appear
among the mass of us tending to make us refuse to live
on a subsistence level in a rich world and to die for our
masters' markets. Therefore our masters have to make the
attempt to crush out the very possibility of a refusal by us
to live and die for them. To this end they have to try to
destroy all reason and decency in the world.

This is why, every year now, that part of the world in

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